“Havoc” was wrought in the name of Karl Marx in Germany and eastern Europe, but that Marx also stood for things like freedom of the press: German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier told Chinese students on Friday.
Marx is lauded in China, and in May President Xi Jinping said the decision of the ruling Communist Party to stick with his political theories remained “totally correct”, in a speech to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the German philosopher’s birth.
Speaking to students at Sichuan University according to a copy of the speech provided by the German embassy in Beijing “In this anniversary year, it seems to me that Germans and Chinese can have very different views not only of current issues but also of the same historical and intellectual ideas,” Steinmeier said.
The president said, there was no doubt Marx was a great German intellectual, an influential philosopher, economist, historian and sociologist, and a “rather less successful educator and workers’ leader."
Germany’s history, he said, was for many years marked by “dictatorship and repression."
“This makes us particularly sensitive to and aware of what happens to those who do not share the prevailing opinion, belong to an ethnic minority, and want to practice their religion or campaign non-violently and peacefully for their ideas and beliefs,” Steinmeier said.